Perspective: A passion for sustainability

Author: Rachel Novick


by Kate Christian ’15

When people ask me what I’m studying, I have to take a deep breath and prepare my long-winded answer: I’m studying Business, but I don’t know yet which field, and I’m double minoring in Sustainability and Theology. The next question is often, “What exactly is sustainability?” Sustainability is about effectively managing our resources so that people can continue to thrive without damaging the earth. The Sustainability minor is brand new at Notre Dame and reflects ND’s ongoing path towards further innovation while still maintaining its strong tradition.

The intersection of these three disciplines is what I love most about college: the focus on passion. While there are still university requirements and college requirements, in college you get to study and pursue your passion at an extremely sophisticated level. College is a time to apply the lens of academics to the things that interest you most. For me, it results in the collision of business, the earth, and God. Every class I take has a purpose beyond a final grade and helps me further define my passions and interests.

I’ll admit, my three areas of study are unconventional, but there is no typical college path. Now how did I decide on these three subjects? I knew business was going to be my major before I decided on Notre Dame about a year ago. I’ve always been interested in economics, I’m a “numbers person”, and I enjoy the cause-and-effect relationships present throughout. Business is also a very applicable field; I don’t know yet what I want to do with it, but business (along with my minors) can open a lot of doors and has many possibilities and opportunities.

I’ve always been very interested in the environment, which isn’t too surprising since I’m a California native! I knew that once I got to college I wanted to study the environment, not just have it as an interest. The coolest thing about this minor is how it’s interdisciplinary. I have the option to take classes through engineering, anthropology, philosophy, and more. My current sustainability class is co-taught by four professors from the Chemistry, Sociology, Engineering, and English departments. Sustainability is a growing field, and I’m so thrilled to be part of it.

When I originally entered Notre Dame, I had no intention of pursuing theology academically. I’ve always been very spiritual and religious, but didn’t think I’d enjoy the study of theology at a higher educational level. However, I took my introductory theology course my first semester and really enjoyed it. At the end of the semester, my professor recommended that I add theology as a second major or minor.
I am very excited about taking more theology classes beyond my requirements and further exploring the study of God and God’s people.

Overall I’m very excited about my studies. Most importantly, they’re my passions. I enjoy my classes and love that I get to have more control over my education!

Originally published on the First Year of Studies website